Heathrow expansion plan has been revealed. London’s Heathrow Airport on Tuesday released plans for a colossal extension at a hefty cost, culminating in a third runway planned for 2026 that is still controversial. The largest airport in Europe, with 78 million passengers a year, has unveiled the outline of an “overall plan” aiming not only to endow it with a third runway, but also to improve reception conditions of passengers in its terminals and car parks. The release of this project marks the beginning of a three-month public consultation, which will provide advice on planned infrastructure and plans to minimize the environmental impact of this expansion.
The work for the third runway could start in 2021 with an entry into service scheduled for 2026. The project includes the construction of a tunnel to pass under the M25, an important road around the capital. The total cost of this first phase of the “overall plan” is estimated at 14 billion pounds.
The second phase involves major work on the airport terminals and the grouping of scattered car parks around a giant garage site south of the site. A second massive car park could be built north of the airport. New hotels and office buildings could also be built. Expected by 2050, this second phase would bring the total bill of the plan to about 30 billion pounds, according to the BBC. The sum will be paid by the private owners of the airport, a consortium including pension funds and investment.
In June 2018, the UK Conservative government gave the go-ahead for the construction of the third runway at Heathrow, a choice approved shortly thereafter by Parliament. These decisions provisionally concluded a debate that began several decades ago on whether to increase London’s airport capacity. The British capital has five airports (Heathrow in the west, Gatwick in the south, Stansted and Luton in the north and London City Airport in the east).
Opponents of this expansion consider it harmful to the quality of life of residents. On May 1, the UK High Court of Justice rejected a complaint against this extension, filed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, several districts of the capital and the NGO Greenpeace.